Page 116 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

are looking at a range of capital infrastructure projects to accelerate.” That is simply because they do not deliver on infrastructure. The statement finishes with the Treasurer reiterating some of these points, and it is interesting that the Treasurer bothers to do that. She says, and this will move to what we will be talking about a bit later on in the day, “The responses we will provide through the second appropriation bill will assist these vulnerable groups.” If they knew that they were vulnerable, why didn’t they do something earlier than today? The downturn has not just arrived three weeks out from Christmas. If they knew that these people were vulnerable, why wasn’t something occurring earlier than today?

We were sworn in on 5 November. Today is 9 December, 34 days later—34 days of inactivity from the government, 34 days of sleepiness from the Chief Minister, 34 days of ignoring the vulnerable by the Treasurer, 34 days of nothing happening and denying these people payments that could have been made much earlier had the government wanted to return to work. But it is because the government have been unable to cope with what has gone before and are unable to cope with the future that they have let these people down.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (5.08): In the ministerial statement on health the minister has laid out an agenda for improvements in the government health portfolio. She started by saying that high quality health care is a government service that is highly valued by the community. I think that is a statement of aspiration and that people currently waiting in the emergency departments, people who cannot find a GP or are on extended elective surgery lists, or indeed those who are suffering from bed occupancy rates at dangerously high levels, would disagree. So, although I share that statement in principle, that aspiration that the minister has, I would doubt that many in our community would say that they are receiving a quality government service.

The statement that the minister has outlined is very much focused on facilities, on capital works, and what this plan lacks is the detail behind that to say how it will actually improve our service. Certainly there is a capital works plan. But the minister in response to a question today could not actually say how we are going to reduce the dangerously high levels of bed occupancy to below 85 per cent and had no plan beyond there. All we seem to have is a plan to build facilities, without the other requirements to staff those facilities and to provide the other essential services as part of a holistic plan.

Yes, I acknowledge there is a lot of money being spent. But I think it is fair to say that, as the second highest spending jurisdiction in Australia already, we are not getting the results that we deserve, currently or in the future. If you look at where the money is being spent on capital works, and think of this government’s record of delivering on capital works, I fear that, if they follow the pattern with the GDE, we are going to have half a hospital and I fear about when that is going to be delivered.

What really is of concern to me is when the statement says, “It is essential that we grow our health workforce to keep in front of the demand for services.” That is all that is laid out for the most critical area of health that we face, and that is the provision of health professionals, the nurses and the doctors that are going to staff the hospitals. All we have is a statement that it is essential. We are aware of that and we are aware that it is essential to get those people into the ACT now—but there is no plan.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .